Monday, March 11, 2013

Organisations :


·         The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) is the nodal agency in the administrative structure of the Central Government for the planning, promotion, co-ordination and overseeing the implementation of India's environmental and forestry policies and programmes.
·           The Ministry also serves as the nodal agency in the country for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and for the follow-up of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)


·       The Botanical Survey of India (BSI) is the apex research organization under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India for carrying out taxonomic and floristic studies on wild plant resources of the country.
·        It was established on 13th February, 1890 with the basic objective to explore the plant resources of the country and to identify the plants species with economic virtues. The Botanical Survey of India has the nine regional circles situated at different regions of the country. The following are the activities being carried out by the BSI

Ø  Zoological Survey of India

·         The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Environment and Forests was established in 1916 as a national centre for faunistic survey and exploration of the resources leading to the advancement of knowledge on the exceptionally rich faunal diversity of the country. ZSI has its headquarters at Kolkata and 16 regional stations located in different geographic locations of the country. The following are the activities being carried out by the ZSI:

Ø Forest Survey of India (FSI)
·         is an organization under the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India Its principal mandate is to conduct survey and assessment of forest resources in the country.

Ø Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC)

·         The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) is the apex body constituted in the Ministry of Environment and Forests under 'Rules for Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous  Microorganisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells 1989', under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

1.      ·To permit the use of GMOs and products thereof for commercial applications.
2.      ·         To adopt producers for restriction or prohibition, production, sale, import   use of GMOs both for research and applications under EPA.
3.      ·         To authorize large scale production and release of GMOs and products thereof into the environment.
4.      To authorize agencies or persons to have powers to take punitive actions under the EPA.

·         PM : chairman; Min of environ : vice –chairman
·         Statutory organization, constituted u/n Wild Life (protection) Amendment of 2002, advisory body
·         Functions
·         Setting up and management of NP, sanctuaries and protected areas
·         Restriction activities on wildlife and its habitat
·         Providing status report
·         Constitute a standing committee
·         Recommend ‘alteration of the boundaries of sanctuaries, NP to state Govt.
·         No alteration of boundaries of Tiger Reserve can be made except on recommendations of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) And National Board Of Wildlife
  ·  No state Govt shall be de-notify a NTCA and National Board Of Wildlife .

ØCentral Pollution Control Board (CPCB),

·         The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), statutory organisation, was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

·         functioning under the Ministry of Environment and Forest
·         objective of NRCP is to improve the water quality of the rivers

·         planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating body of the centre and the states
·         PM: ex officio chairman; the Union Ministers concerned and CM of states through which GANGA flows (Uttarkhand, UP , Bihar, Jharkhand, WB)
·         Seven IITs(Kanpur, Delhi, Chennai, Bombay, Kharagpur, Guawahati N Roorkee ): work  has been entrusted ; MoA has been signed between MoEF and IITs
·         Funding pattern : 70:30 between the centre and state
·         Drawing power from Environment (Protection) Act ,1986

v     Ganga Action Plan Phase-I
·     The Ganga Basin which is the largest river basin of the country houses about 40% population of India.
·     The river after traversing a distance of 2525 kms. from its source, meets the bay of Bengal at Ganga Sagar in West Bengal. During the course of its journey from the hills to the sea, municipal sewage from large urban centres, trade effluents from industries and polluting waste from several other non-point sources are discharged into the river resulting in its pollution

              1. YEAR OF LAUNCH : June 1985
           2. SCHEDULED COMPLETION DATE : Declared closed on 31-3-2000
           3. ORIGINAL SANCTIONED COST : Rs. 256.26 crores
           4. REVISED SANCTIONED COST : Rs. 462.04 crores
           5. DATE OF REVISED APPROVAL : August 1994
          6. TOWNS COVERED : 25 class I towns
                         - 6 in U.P.
                           - 4 in Bihar
                            - 15 in W B
 v Ganga Action Plan Phase-II
·         The program of river cleaning was extended to other major rivers of the country under two separate schemes of GAP Phase - II and the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP).
·         Yamuna and Gomati Action Plans were approved in April 1993 under GANGA Action Plan Phase - II.
·          Programs of other major rivers were subsequently approved in 1995 under NRCP. After launching of NRCP in 1995, it was decided to merge GAP II with NRCP.   

Ø      National Environment Assessment and Monitoring Authority (NEAMA)
·         proposed authority is a revised version of the National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA)
·         statutory body under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
·         professional autonomous body with domain experts, technological finesse and field outreach to appraise projects for environmental clearance besides monitoring compliance and initiating enforcement action.

(a) Environment Impact Assessment: This will deal with the clearances required under EIA notification, 2006 and CRZ notification, 1991.

(b) Enforcement and Compliance: This will cover areas like ambient monitoring, industrial monitoring and criminal remedial action to ensure compliance.

(c) Environmental Planning and Sustainability Studies: This area will be R&D oriented and will include studies in spatial planning, carrying capacity studies, delineation of critically polluted areas and environmental laws.

(d) Environmental Health and Eco-system Protection: This will cover areas like toxicology, water, air and soil pollution, laboratory management and natural resource management.

(e) Sustainable Production and Waste Management: This function will look at issues like municipal solid waste, plastic waste, hazardous waste and also the emerging area of environmental labeling (eco-labeling) of products and services.

(f)  Chemical Safety and Biosafety: This function would include prevention and management of chemical accidents and related information systems and would also encompass the work related to approvals presently being given by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC). 
(g) In this context, it is mentionable that proposal for setting up a Biotechnology Regulatory Authority, which will subsume the GEAC, is under separate consideration of the Government of India.

·         ·        has been setup under the final orders and decision of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) 
·         ·         The authority started functioning from 20th December, 1980.
·         ·          Representatives of the four States of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and representatives of Govt. Of India.
·         ·         Secretary (Water Resources), Govt. of India is the ex-officio Chairman of the Authority
·         The Narmada Control Authority has its headquarters at Indore.

 v Intensification of Forest Management Scheme” (IFMS)
·    The components of the scheme included forest fire control and management, survey, demarcation and preparation of working plans, strengthening of infrastructure such as roads, camp offices, watch towers, improved mobility, providing fire arms and use of modern information and communication technology etc.
·         The funding pattern is on cost sharing basis for   N-E States including Sikkim and special category States Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir & Uttarakhand, the Central Share is 90%   and the State’s Share is 10%. For rest of the states the Central Share is 75% and State’s Share is 25%.

 v Project Tiger
·       Project Tiger" was launched by the Government of India in 1973 in nine reserves of different States (Assam, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal) over an area of approximately 14,000 sq. km.
·       Since then, the project coverage has expanded considerably to 41 tiger reserves (TR), encompassing an area of around 46,388.22 in 17 tiger States with 32578.78 of notified core/ critical tiger habitats in 16 tiger States. 

v  Project Elephant
·         a centrally sponsored scheme, was launched in February 1992 to provide financial and technical support to major elephant bearing States in the country for protection of elephants, their habitats and corridors.
·          It also seeks to address the issues of human-elephant conflict and welfare of domesticated elephants. 
·         The Project is being implemented in 13 States / UTs, viz. Andhra pradesh , Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand , Karnataka , Kerala , Meghalaya , Nagaland , Orissa , Tamil Nadu , Uttranchal , Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
·         Based on the proposals received in the form of Annual Plan of Operations, Government of India provides financial and technical assistance to State/UT Governments for wildlife protection under the various Centrally Sponsored Schemes – Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries, Project Tiger and Project Elephant
·         These funds are released after scrutiny of the proposals and also subject to the availability of funds and fulfillment of procedural requirements. The State-wise details of funds which have been released under this project  are given 
·         There are only 17 states in which elephants exist in the wild state. Project Elephant has declared 24 elephant reserves in 12 states to protect elephant populations in the wild and develop their habitat. It was launched in the year 1991-92 as a sequel to a series of efforts to conserve this magnificent species covering primarily twelve states of India, namely Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Legal cover for elephant 
·         The move comes after concerns were raised within the National Board for Wildlife about lack of legal cover for elephant reserves and corridors against changes in the vast landscapes that pachyderms occupy in the country.
·         Thirty-two elephant reserves covering 69,582 sq km are identified by the central government and their sizes vary from 450-6,724 sq km, encompassing not only forest patches of different kinds but also villages, townships, agricultural land, tea plantations and revenue land.
·         At the moment, elephant reserves are identified only as a programme of the environment ministry to provide additional funds under the Project Elephant   central scheme but this does not automatically ensure a higher level of legal protection against changes to the demarcated landscape such as in the case of tiger reserves (which are in most cases forest land).
·         There has been some debate in the ministry and among tribal and wildlife activists about how to regulate activities detrimental to the pachyderm while not hurting the rights of people living in these zones. Unlike in the case of national parks, tiger reserves and sanctuaries, the government faces peculiar difficulties in safeguarding elephant habitats. Elephants can traverse hundreds of kilometres annually, running through cities, villages and forest land that are contested by many stakeholders holding or wanting rights to the lands for varying activities ranging from mining to sustenance of tribals.
·         The committee set up by the environment ministry will be headed by Vinod Rishi, retired senior forest officer, along with the director of Project Tiger as member convener. Member of National Board for Wildlife M D Madhusudan, chief wildlife warden of Odisha J D Sharma, Supreme Court lawyer Sanjay Upadhayaya and elephant conservation expert Ajay Desai have been appointed as members.
·         The committee has been given a year's time to examine whether the existing network of elephant reserves and corridors adequately cover the animal's habitat and what kind of legal cover can be given to these land under existing green laws as recommended by the Elephant Task Force. The panel has also been asked to assess the impact of wildlife protection regulations on people living or utilizing the land falling inside elephant reserves and corridors.

National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP)

  • Government of India opertionalized National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP) in closed collaboration with concerned State Government during the year 1985/86. 
  • Under the programme 115 wetlands  have been identified till now by the Ministry which requires urgent conservation and management initiatives.

Aim of the Scheme

  • Conservation and wise use of wetlands in the country so as to prevent their further degradation.

Objectives of the Scheme
The scheme was initiated with the following objectives:-
  • to lay down policy guidelines for conservation and management of wetlands in the country;
  • to undertake intensive conservation measures in priority wetlands;
  • to monitor implementation of the programme; and
  • to prepare an inventory of Indian wetlands.
Proposed funding pattern under the Scheme
Financial assistance under NWCP is provided for two components i.e.

  •  Management Action Plan (MAP) and Research Projects. Under the Scheme, 100% assistance is provided for activities. Conservation and management of wetlands is primarily vested with the State/UTs, who are in physical possession of the area. 
  • After identification of wetlands under the Scheme, the State/UTs are to submit long-term comprehensive Management Action Plans (MAPs) for a period of 3-5 years, preferably 5 years, coinciding with the Plan period.
Ramsar Convention on Wetland

  • The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. 
  • There are presently 158 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1758 wetland sites, totaling 161 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. 
  • Ramsar Convention is the only global environment treaty dealing with a particular ecosystem
  • In addition, many wetlands are international systems lying across the boundaries of two or more countries, or are part of river basins that include more than one country. The health of these and other wetlands is dependent upon the quality and quantity of the trans boundary water supply from rivers, streams, lakes, or underground aquifers. 
  • This requires framework for international discussion and cooperation toward mutual benefits.  

Major obligations of countries which are party to the Convention are:
  • Designate wetlands for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance
  • Promote, as far as possible, the wise use of wetlands in their territory 
  • Promote international cooperation especially with regard to transboundary wetlands, shared water systems, and shared species.
  • Create wetland reserves
The Convention on Wetlands came into force for India on 1 February 1982. India presently has 26 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 689,131 hectares.

Western Ghats Panel
  •  was established to assess the current status of the ecology of the Western Ghats, to demarcate the ecologically sensitive zones under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986,
  • under the chairmanship of Madhav Gadgil
  • The panel had submitted its report to the government on August 30, 2011.
  •  The government is yet to accept the report while several groups in the city have begun discussions and talks to understand the WGEEP report.

Environment Information System (ENVIS) 
  •  established in December 1982, established
  •  The focus of ENVIS since inception has been on providing environmental information to decision makers, policy planners, scientists and environmentalists, researchers, academicians and other stakeholders
  • ENVIS is a decentralized computerized network database system consisting of the focal point located in the Ministry and a chain of network partners, known as ENVIS Centres located in the potential organizations/institutions throughout the country. 


·         The Indian government has established 17 Biosphere Reserves of India, (categories roughly corresponding to IUCN Category V Protected areas), which protect larger areas of natural habitat (than a National Park or Animal Sanctuary), and often include one or more National Parks and/or preserves, along buffer zones that are open to some economic uses.
·         Protection is granted not only to the flora and fauna of the protected region, but also to the human communities who inhabit these regions, and their ways of life.
·         Seven of the sixteen biosphere reserves are a part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, based on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme list
·         In 2009, India designated Cold Desert of Himachal Pradesh as a biosphere reserve. On September 20, 2010, the Ministry of Environment and Forests designated Seshachalam Hills as the 17th biosphere reserve. Panna (Madhya Pradesh) was scheduled to become the 18th on August 25, 2011


Ø Biological Diversity Act 2002

       ·         The Biological Diversity Act 2002 was born out of India's attempt to realise the objectives enshrined in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 1992 which recognizes the sovereign rights of states to use their own Biological Resources.
·         The Act aims at the conservation of biological resources and associated knowledge as well as facilitating access to them in a sustainable manner and through a just process for purposes of implementing the objects of the Act it establishes the National Biodiversity Authority in Chennai(headquarters)

Ø National Biodiversity Authority
·         The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) was established in 2003 to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002). The NBA is a Statutory, Autonomous Body and it performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory function for the Government of India on issues of conservation, sustainable use of biological resources and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources.

Ø The National Green Tribunal
        ·         has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010  
        ·          It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.
         ·         The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
         ·          it is chaired by Justice Swatanter Kumar


Ø National Forest Policy, 1988
·         India launched its National Forest Policy in 1988.
·         This led to a program named Joint Forest Management, which proposed that specific villages in association with the forest department will manage specific forest blocks.
·         In particular, the protection of the forests would be the responsibility of the people.
·          By 1992, seventeen states of India participated in Joint Forest Management, bringing about 2 million hectares of forests under protection. The effect of this initiative has been claimed to be positive
·         India's national forest policy expects to invest US$ 26.7 billion by 2020, to pursue nationwide afforestation coupled with forest conservation, with the goal of increasing India's forest cover from 20% to 33%

Ø Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
·        issued on 27.1.1994 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 making EIA mandatory for 29 categories of developmental projects.
·         EIA is a planning tool that is now generally accepted as an integral component of sound decision-making.
·        The objective of EIA is to foresee and address potential environmental problems/concerns at an early stage of project planning and design.
·        EIA should assist planners and government authorities in the decision making process by identifying the key impacts/issues and formulating mitigation measures.Ministry had issued sectoral guidelines some time ago.


               ·        Mangroves are known to provide shelter, act as nursery grounds and are also habitats for economically important fishes, prawns, crabs and molluscs.  
       ·        In addition to  from providing nutrition in the form of detritus, mangroves also play an important role by improving water quality and controlling coastal erosion caused by
flooding and storm surges.
       ·         They also act as a barrier during cyclones and protect the coastline.


Ganges River dolphin

The Ganges River dolphin or Susu, lives in one of the most densely populated regions of the world. One of the main threats to the species is loss of habitat due in large part to the creation of dams and irrigation projects.

Habitat and subspecies under severe threat

The survival of the Ganges River dolphin is threatened by unintentional killing through entanglement in fishing gear; directed harvest for dolphin oil, which is used as a fish attractant and for medicinal purposes; water development projects (e.g. water extraction and the construction of barrages, high dams, and embankments); industrial waste and pesticides; municipal sewage discharge and noise from vessel traffic; and over exploitation of prey, mainly due to the widespread use of non-selective fishing gear. 

Habitat loss and degradation
More than 50 dams and irrigation-related projects have had an adverse impact on the habitat of this species. These projects result in major changes in the flow, sediment load, and water quality of rivers, which affects the quality of waters downstream.

As a result, there has been a serious decrease in fish production, while the extraction of river water and siltation from deforestation are also degrading the species' habitat. In some cases, habitat alterations have resulted in the genetic isolation of dolphin populations.

Pollution levels are a problem, and are expected to increase with the development of intensive modern industrial practices in the region. Compounds such as organochlorine and butyltin found in the tissues of Ganges River dolphins are a cause for concern about their potential effects on the subspecies.

Fisheries bycatch

Bycatch in gillnets and line hooks is also a major source of mortality for this subspecies.

Directed take

Although the killing of this dolphin for meat and oil is thought to have declined, it still occurs in the middle Ganges near Patna, in the Kalni-Kushiyara River of Bangladesh, and in the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra. In fisheries for large catfish in India and Bangladesh, dolphin oil and body parts are used to lure prey, and Ganges River dolphins are used to this end. 

Efforts have been made in India to test shark liver and sardine oil and fish offal to find an alternative for dolphin products. The latter appears promising.


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